The Library of Congress Veterans History Project Home 
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Home » Joseph Edward Brown

"During the Korean War, the black soldier began to be accepted on an equal basis as a combat soldier." (Video Interview, 24:37)

   Joseph Edward Brown
Collection image
Composite photo of Joseph Brown at time of service and in April 2002
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Army
Unit: 74th Engineer Combat Battalion, Medical Detachment
Service Location: Pacific Theater
Rank: Sergeant
View Full Description

Drafted by the Army twice, Joseph Brown had two widely disparate experiences in the military. He graduated from high school in June 1945 and went into the Army during the final days of World War II, suffering degrading conditions at a Texas base where he and other blacks were subject to inferior accommodations. In 1950, he was called to serve again in Korea, but this time, he was assigned to an elite unit and attended leadership school. Because Brown had been a pre-med student in college, he was asked to supervise a medical unit; he even had some white soldiers under his command. In only five years, the Army had changed, moving, in Brown’s view, more quickly to integrate its ranks than the civilian world.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (27 min.)
»Photo Album  (2 photos)
More like this
»Military Medicine: Medical Support
»Executive Order 9981
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Buddies killed by a mine; how he was stranded in the field for two days. (04:18) His attitudes toward treating all soldiers and carrying a gun. (01:08) Stressing cleanliness. (01:25)
Integration in the Army. (01:28)  

Home » Joseph Edward Brown
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us